Education Act 1998

F57[Additional provision in respect of children with special educational needs

37A

37A. (1) Where the Council is of the opinion that there is insufficient capacity in an area in relation to the provision of education for children with special educational needs, it shall prepare and submit a report on the matter to the Minister.

(2) A report under subsection (1) shall specify—

(a) the existing provision of education for children with special educational needs in the area concerned, having regard to the generality of provision of education within the area,

(b) any proposed or existing building projects which may affect capacity to provide education for children with special educational needs in the area concerned,

(c) any schools in the area concerned which the Council considers could meet additional demand for education for children with special educational needs,

(d) which (if any) of the schools referred to in paragraph (c) the Council considers should be requested to make additional provision in respect of children with special educational needs, and

(e) such other matters as the Council considers appropriate.

(3) (a) Where, on receipt of a report submitted under subsection (1), the Minister is of the opinion that a relevant person should make additional provision for children with special educational needs, the Minister shall serve a notice in writing on such relevant person.

(b) A notice under paragraph (a) shall—

(i) set out the Minister’s opinion that the relevant person referred to in the notice should make additional provision for children with special educational needs and state the reasons for his or her opinion,

(ii) include a copy of the report submitted under subsection (1),

(iii) specify details of the measures to be taken by the relevant person for the purpose of making additional provision for children with special educational needs,

(iv) specify what, if any, resources the Minister considers appropriate to provide to the school in order to assist the school in making additional provision for education for children with special educational needs,

(v) set out any proposed property arrangements, including any arrangements in relation to the provision of additional accommodation on the school premises and the funding arrangements the Minister shall provide for that purpose, in order to assist the school in increasing its provision for education for children with special educational needs,

(vi) where the identity of any other person or body in whom the ownership of the school premises is vested is not known to the Minister, direct that the patron or board, as the case may be, shall provide a copy of the notice to such person as soon as practicable after receipt of the notice and confirm to the Minister in writing that the copy of the notice has been so provided,

(vii) state that the relevant person on whom the notice is served (or, where paragraph (vi) applies, to whom a copy of the notice is provided) may make representations in writing to the Minister on any matter set out or specified in the notice not later than 14 days from the service of the notice.

(4) The patron or board, as the case may be, shall comply with a direction under paragraph (b)(vi) of subsection (3) in a notice served under that subsection.

(5) A relevant person on whom a notice is served (or, where subsection (3)(b)(vi) applies, to whom a copy of a notice is provided) under subsection (3) may, not later than 14 days from the service of the notice, make representations in writing to the Minister on any matter set out or specified in the notice.

(6) Where the Minister, after consideration of the representations (if any) made under subsection (5) and following consultation with such other persons as the Minister considers appropriate, remains of the opinion that a school should make additional provision for children with special educational needs, the Minister may serve notice in writing on the relevant person of his or her intention to give a direction under subsection (8) and the notice shall include a copy of a draft of the direction.

(7) A relevant person on whom a notice is served under subsection (6) may, not later than 14 days from the service of the notice make representations in writing to the Minister in relation to the draft direction contained in the notice.

(8) Where the Minister, after consideration of the representations (if any) made under subsection (7), remains of the opinion that a school should make additional provision for children with special educational needs, the Minister shall serve a direction (in this section referred to as a "Ministerial direction"), including such amendments to the draft direction contained in the notice served under subsection (6) as the Minister considers appropriate having regard to any such further representations, on the relevant person.

(9) A relevant person on whom a Ministerial direction is served shall comply with the Ministerial direction in accordance with its terms which shall include—

(a) the measures to be taken by the relevant person in relation to making additional provision for children with special educational needs, including admission to the school of such children,

(b) the period during which such measures shall be taken, and

(c) any other matter relevant to the making of additional provision for children with special education needs as the Minister considers appropriate.

(10) The obligation under subsection (9) to comply with a Ministerial direction shall apply notwithstanding the admission policy of the school concerned.

(11) (a) The following documents shall be published in accordance with paragraph (b):

(i) any notices served by the Minister under this section;

(ii) any representations received by the Minister under this section;

(iii) a draft direction contained in a notice served under subsection (6);

(iv) a Ministerial direction.

(b) The Minister shall publish the documents referred to in paragraph (a) on a website maintained by or on behalf of the Minister not later than 7 days from the date on which he or she serves or receives them.

(12) Any report prepared, or in the course of preparation, by the Council under this section (being that section in the terms as it stood before the commencement of section 6 of the Education (Provision in Respect of Children with Special Educational Needs) Act 2022), whether or not submitted to the Minister before the said commencement, shall be deemed to be a report prepared or in the course of preparation, as the case may be, for the purposes of subsection (1).

(13) The Minister shall—

(a) not later than 3 years after the commencement of section 6 of the Education (Provision for Children with Special Educational Needs) Act 2022, commence a review of the operation of this section, in consultation with bodies representative of patrons, national associations of parents, recognised school management organisations and recognised trade unions and staff associations representing teachers and such other bodies and organisations as the Minister considers appropriate, and

(b) not later than 12 months after the end of the period of 3 years referred to in paragraph (a), make a report to each House of the Oireachtas of his or her findings and conclusions resulting from that review.

(14) In this section—

"Council" means the National Council for Special Education;

"relevant person", in relation to a school, means, as the case requires, the patron, the board of management or any other person or body in whom the ownership of the school premises is vested;

"resources" includes resources made available by the Minister and allocated by the Council.]

Annotations

Amendments:

F57

Substituted (25.07.2022) by Education (Provision in Respect of Children with Special Educational Needs) Act 2022 (22/2022), s. 6, S.I. No. 382 of 2022.

Editorial Notes:

E27

Previous affecting provision: section inserted (3.12.2018) by Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 (14/2018), s. 8, S.I. No. 396 of 2018; substituted as per F-note above.

E28

The section heading is taken from the amending section in the absence of one included in the amendment.